Fetch, Robot Dog!

Boston Dynamics, who specialize is all sorts of robotic gizmos, has announced the arrival of SpotMini — the first totally robotic dog. It walks on four legs and can do simple tricks like ‘sit,’ ‘roll over,’ ‘fetch,’ and ‘play dead’ (when its battery dies.) The company hopes to start rolling them off the assembly line, a thousand a month, by the end of the year.

The mechanical mutt weighs just over sixty pounds and is slated to start working in warehouses and nursing homes for security, delivery, and as a helpful companion for those who are unable to care for themselves.

But in all the hype there are two items that are not mentioned at all. Two important considerations for those who are thinking of buying a robot dog.

First, on the positive side, being a walking computer the SpotMini will never leave a mess on the rug or need to be picked up after on a walk. This is a huge plus for the millions of current dog owners who like to think they always clean up after their pooch, but actually don’t — allowing innocent pedestrians to step into disgusting situations with dismal regularity. You know who you are. A robot dog takes care of that problem.

On the negative side are the leftovers. Who’s going to take care of them, now that the dog is battery operated? Those table scraps are not going to be mulched, not by a long shot.